About LLS:

Throughout my career, I have received thousands of questions regarding languages and I have finally decided to answer them objectively with no strings attached. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave your comments below.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Can't seem to learn? A few tips for hard learners!

The "Bell Curve" is a theory which dictates distribution of talent amongst the population. It accounts for talent as much as it does for appearance, intelligence and most important of all; the ability to learn languages. The theory claims that the majority of the population is average, and that a small minority is either very gifted or not at all. This theory was originally designed to talk about crime, education and income, but I find it extremely versatile and universal.

More information about it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bell_Curve

The "Bell Curve"

For those who don't understand the amount of effort involved in order to break from one extremity to the other, look at it from a very simple perspective. If you are one of those people who simply can't seem to lose weight, then you understand that in order to get physically fit you would have to endure much more than the skinny nerd living next door. Is all hope lost? Well technically you could shift from one end of the curve to the other, if you changed your eating habits and began a disciplined sport regime.

The point is that, talented or not. Some individuals have it easy. Don't worry, with today's article we will take a look at the options available, if of course, you aren't one of the lucky ones.

Firstly, let’s identify on which end of the curve you are:

- How many languages can you speak? (B1 level and above)
- How many years have you been trying to learn a language unsuccessfully?
- Have you been studying seriously or just messing around?
- Do you consider yourself "bad" at languages?
- Do you find it hard to learn other subjects?

There is no way to say for sure, but no matter how bad you think you might be, these tips will be helpful.

The brain also needs a good workout routine.

1- Mix plenty of materials together:

If you have finally decided to learn the language of your dreams, it would be a good idea to get different sensory input. What I mean by "sensory input" is that you can try to listen to audiotapes, read books, do grammar exercises and use some kind of interactive programs in order to mix from different sources, thereby greatly increasing the amount of material learned. The more you mix, the better your results will be.

2- Know yourself:

One must know exactly how lazy one is. Try to cheat your laziness with slow steps without forcing yourself to stare at grammar for hours. Try to remember 5 words every day. How much of your time would you actually have to invest to accomplish such a feat?

3- Make it into a lifestyle, not a task:

People often make the mistake of making education into a mission or a completable task. A language is something that you improve and polish as years go by. Don't expect to just learn everything after a summer course. Pick a language you like and just let it be the background of your daily activities. Many examples include listening to music, going to foreign concerts, reading about the history of the country, having posters in your room in that language.

4- Establish a list of goals and reach them one at a time:

Series of realistic goals can have a tremendous impact on motivation. Instead of saying "I want to speak English" try to say "I will cover the English Conditionals". Give yourself some time to do it and advance as you go.

5- Stay motivated:

Even if you're having a bad week, don't quit. You're planning to go on a binge drinking spree? As soon as it’s over, continue where you left off. Take a break and get back to it after a while. It doesn't matter how motivated I am, I still have my ups and downs. 

6- Routine and daily habits:

A good way to get something done is to do it regularly. Don't think about convincing yourself that you’re not lazy. Just make it into a habit! How do I that? Start doing it and try to maintain steadiness for a few days until "Habit Mode" kicks in. Once you make something into a habit, it becomes hard to break.

7- Find people and places to practice regularly:

The best way is to integrate business with pleasure. Luckily, languages can be practiced in the field where most of the drinking, rambling and flirting occur. Find language tandems and bars that offer opportunities to speak. Nowadays with the advent of Facebook and other social websites, places such as these are everywhere. A good place to start would be to look into "Local Language Tandem Exchange" and "Couch Surfing".



Creative Commons License
LanguageLearningShortcuts! by Peter Masalski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://languagelearningshortcuts.blogspot.com/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available athttp://www.pmls.pl/Disclaimereng.htm.

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